By Sarah Elisabeth Sawyer, Artist in Business Leadership Fellow 2015

Image courtesy of artist. 

Hip-hop artist and sought-after speaker Mic Jordan (Ojibwe) has served as a TedX speaker, was named 2016 North Dakota Hip Hop Artist of the Year, and is a Turnaround Artist, a project led by the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities. Mic is an enrolled member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Ojibwe Tribe in Belcourt, North Dakota. He's a 2017 First Peoples Fund Artists in Business Leadership fellow.

Mic Jordan believes keeping music in his heart saved him. No matter what he was going through, music took him to a better place. He used music to navigate everyday life. He creates music and tells stories from his heart. Music is not what he does. It’s who he is.

Mic’s songs come from deep within him and reach out to youth, giving them something to hope for. He teaches in schools and helps kids find themselves because he knows what they’re going through and how to help them through their unique struggles in Indian Country. Music is a powerful connection to one’s own emotions and experiences. He wants them to walk away from his work with music in their hearts.

First Peoples Fund believes in Native American artists like Mic. Having that support this year will bring a mobile recording studio into schools within Native communities, where he can offer students a chance to create original songs about issues youth face today. For the #DearNativeYouth project, Mic will fashion a space where they can build confidence and develop their creative expression through writing and music. They’ll find their voices, empowering them to overcome life’s obstacles.

The collaborative project ends with a fully mixed and mastered album featuring the schools he visited. The #DearNativeYouth project is the first of its kind.

But it’s more than music. Mic wants the youth to build confidence, learn how to collaborate as a team, empathize with others, and find hope and strength in community. He’ll teach them to bend the hip-hop genre and let indigenized music into their hearts. To let it save them.